December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Latest run-in could cost Vince Urbin his job

ELYRIA — Former Avon Lake Mayor Vince Urbin’s no contest plea last week to a charge he solicited a prostitute in Bowling Green could cost him his job as director of community services at the Lorain County Community Action Agency.

Urbin

Urbin

Wellington Mayor Barbara O’Keefe, who serves as a board member for the nonprofit poverty-fighting agency, said Wednesday she was disappointed in Urbin’s behavior.

“I would hope that he would just resign,” she said.

Urbin, who is married with adult children, did not return calls seeking comment and is on vacation this week from the agency. His brother, Dan Urbin, said Vince Urbin and his family had no comment and asked that their privacy be respected.

Tim Howard, president of the agency’s board, said the board can’t fire Urbin, but agency Director Bill Locke could, although Locke also is on vacation. Locke did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Urbin, 52, pleaded no contest Friday in Bowling Green Municipal Court to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting. He was arrested last Thursday at a Bowling Green hotel while answering an online ad from an undercover Wood County Sheriff’s deputy posing as a prostitute.

Wood County Sheriff’s Sgt. Terry James said Urbin had agreed to pay the undercover officer $100 for sex. One other man and three women also were picked up in the sting operation, the third of its kind run by the sheriff’s office in Wood County this year.

He said Urbin is the most high-profile would-be john picked up in the stings so far.

James said Urbin was cooperative and admitted to what he was doing after he was confronted by deputies.
“He really didn’t give a reason,” James said.

Urbin was held overnight in the Wood County Jail and was sentenced to 31 days in jail, although 30 of those days were suspended while he is on parole for a year. He also was fined $500 and had to forfeit the $100 he brought to pay the prostitute, court records show.

Urbin previously was convicted in 2001 of tampering with evidence, complicity to tampering with evidence and two counts of unlawful interest in a public contract for steering $2,745 worth of business to the Fountain Bleau Party Center, which was managed by Dan Urbin, while he was mayor.

Vince Urbin resigned from the mayor’s job in March 2001, was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail and was on probation for three years. Dan Urbin served 30 days in the county jail for his role in that scandal.

Following his conviction, Vince Urbin worked as a car salesman before taking a job with the Lorain County Community Development Department. He ultimately took the job with the agency, where he earned about $60,500 last year, according to documents filed by the agency with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

After a county judge last year granted his request to have his corruption case sealed, Urbin said he was trying to restore his good name.

Not everyone is calling for Urbin to step down, however.

Lorain County Clerk of Courts Ron Nabakowski, who also serves on the LCCAA board, said Urbin’s arrest in the prostitution sting was entrapment and called it a “victimless crime.” He said he didn’t see why Urbin should resign over the arrest.

“I don’t think he’s done anything that affects his work,” Nabakowski said, adding that he doesn’t believe Urbin should have been convicted in the corruption case.

Although Howard said he is still gathering information about Urbin’s arrest, he acknowledged concerns about possible damage to the agency’s reputation.

“It was very bad judgment for a director of an agency that has worked so hard to bring itself back,” Howard said.

LCCAA was embroiled in a scandal surrounding then-Director Anna Taylor-Carter beginning in 2002. Taylor-Carter was convicted in 2004 of theft, theft in office, falsification and tampering with evidence for misusing agency funds.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.